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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

November 29, 2023

The Bible Edge

Thank You Lord

Matthew 23:11

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

The measure of leadership is not how many individuals a person has authority over, it is how many they serve. According to this measure Jesus Christ is the greatest servant the world has ever known. During His earthly existence the Lord served all. Today in His heavenly existence at the right hand of the Father He continues to serve humanity and especially God’s children of the faith.

Three times He told His followers that the greatest among them would be the servant of them (Matthew 23:11, Mark 9:35 & 10:44). In all of the great attributes, or characteristics, of Christ one of the greatest and most assuring is His servitude. He serves others. There are many today who just cannot grasp the simple truth that the greatest is the one who is a servant. They may take upon themselves the title of leader, manager, boss, pastor, or parent yet do not do that which they should, which is truly serving others. They would rather be served than serve.

Consider a pastor. Some would call them leaders, shepherds, or overseers but Paul described himself and his co-workers like this: Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. (II Corinthians 1:24) At the very best this is what a pastor is, a servant to others helping them find, and keep, joy. Jesus is such a helper; He is the best helper of your joy. How? Consider John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. He wanted all to have true joy in this life, so He taught them His commands and encouraged them to keep them. Herein a person will find joy. Lifelong and eternal joy. The Lord serves others by teaching them. A teacher is not a master but a servant. This is one way a pastor is to be a helper of your joy, by teaching that which will bring joy.

Nonetheless, Jesus was a servant. Paul testified of this to the Philippians; But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: Philippians 2:7. Think about this for a moment, Jesus in the likeness of men made Himself a servant, meaning that an attribute of humans is to serve. Yet, being a servant is not so easy. Jesus even gave a startling example of what a servant should be.

A foot washer. Yep, He stooped to wash the feet of His disciples as an example of service to others. Frankly, in the flesh no one can, for twenty, thirty, forty, or more years be a continual, enthusiastic, and faithful foot washer except through Christ. But that is what we are to be. Parents, pastors, spouses, workers, managers, politically elected officials, and so many others are simply to serve, to wash the feet of others.

Jesus did. Everywhere He walked He served. Even today as our heavenly intercessor He serves. He is the greatest servant the world ever has known or will know. Lord, thank you for your service.

William T. Howe, Ph.D.

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